So, you want to perfect your website SEO by fixing broken links? You are in the right place!
A survey by Conquer-Your-Risk suggests approximately 35.2% (Your website can be among them, too!) of home pages contain one or multiple broken links that can cause resource theft, increase bounce rate, decrease credibility, and negatively impact SEO.
But fear not! In this user-friendly guide, we’ll walk you through simple yet effective strategies to identify and repair fixing those pesky broken links that might wreak havoc on your website!
We will discuss,
- What are Broken Links?
- Why Do Links Become Broken Links?
- 6 Solutions to Fix Damaged Webpage Links Easily
- How Broken Links Cause Different Issues?
- Different Types of Broken Links
Let’s get started!
What is a Broken Link?
A broken link in a webpage refers to a hyperlink or URL that, when clicked or accessed, fails to lead the user to the intended destination or resource. Instead, it results in an error page or a “404 Not Found” message, indicating that the linked page or resource cannot be found on the server.
It’s basically a link in a webpage that no longer functions correctly and prevents users from accessing the desired resources or sometimes breaks the webpage entirely.
Simply, your girlfriend Jessi called you, but the number (broken or incorrect link) led her to another girl’s number, and a misunderstanding occurred. It’s not you or your girl’s fault, but the failed number is to blame!
Know About: How to Add Image Link on WordPress Website?
Why Do “Links” Become “Broken Links”?
Broken links can occur for various reasons, such as a mistyped URL, a deleted or moved webpage, a server issue, or a temporary connectivity problem.
1. Website restructuring
When a website changes its structure, such as page renaming, restructuring, or removal, it can result in broken links. If the links pointing to the old URLs are not updated or redirected, they will lead to broken links when clicked.
2. Typographical/ Written errors
Mistyped or misspelled URLs can lead to broken links. If a link contains incorrect characters, such as extra spaces, incorrect capitalization, or missing characters, it will fail to direct users to the intended destination.
3. Content removal
If a webpage or resource that was previously linked is removed from the website or server, the corresponding links will become broken. This can happen when content is irrelevant, outdated, or intentionally removed from the website.
4. External link changes
If your website includes links to external sources, such as other websites or online resources, and those sources change their URLs or remove the linked content, the links on your website will become broken.
5. Server or hosting issues
Technical problems with the server or hosting provider can cause links to become broken. This can happen if the server is down, experiencing connectivity issues, or if the hosting provider changes the server configurations.
6. URL parameter changes
Some websites use dynamic URLs with parameters to generate content. If the parameters or URL structure change, any links pointing to those URLs will become broken.
7. Linking to nonexistent pages
It’s possible to accidentally create links to never-created or nonexistent pages, resulting in broken links when clicked.
Latest 6 Solutions to Fix Damaged Webpage Links Easily
These solutions will guide you to fix any existing broken links or prevent them from happening.
#1 Regularly inspect your links
Performing regular link audits is crucial for maintaining a healthy website. By conducting these audits, you can identify any broken links on your website.
You can use online tools Google Search Console, Dead Link Checker, and W3C Link Checker or website crawlers to scan your website and generate reports highlighting the specific pages and URLs needing attention.
Moreover, When you review these reports, you can easily spot the broken links that require fixing. Regular link audits help ensure a seamless browsing experience for your visitors by minimizing the occurrence of broken links.
So, perform regular link audits to keep your website in excellent shape and provide the best possible experience for your visitors.
#2 Update or correct URLs
Updating or correcting the associated URLs is important when encountering broken links on your website. Take the time to review the target pages and ensure that the URLs accurately reflect their current locations.
Double-check for any typographical errors, missing characters, or formatting issues in the URLs and make the necessary corrections. If you have changed your website’s structure or content, such as renaming pages or reorganizing sections, it’s crucial to update the URLs accordingly.
#3 Implement redirects
If a linked webpage no longer exists, but you have relevant content elsewhere on your website, consider implementing redirects. Set up 301 redirects to automatically send users to the new or alternative page.
This will help preserve user experience and any existing SEO value associated with the broken link, plus preserve the user experience by preventing visitors from hitting dead ends and encouraging them to continue exploring your website.
You should always ensure that the redirects are set up correctly, pointing to the most relevant and equivalent content for the best result
#4 Custom 404 Error pages
Create custom 404 error pages that provide a user-friendly and informative experience for visitors encountering broken links. Custom 404 error pages are specifically designed to provide useful information and guidance when users land on non-existent or broken links.
You can customize the error page with helpful navigation links, a search bar, and suggestions for alternative content. This helps users navigate your website positively despite encountering a broken link.
#5 Monitor website changes
Monitoring your website will be a prior step to encountering and eliminating broken link-related issues. By remaining proactive and attentive to website changes, you can quickly identify and address any potential issues before they impact user experience.
Stay vigilant about changes happening on your website. Regularly review and update links when you make structural changes, update content, or reorganize your website. This proactive approach minimizes the occurrence of broken links in the first place.
#6 Use webmaster tools
Leverage webmaster tools provided by search engines to identify and manage broken links. These tools often offer detailed reports, crawl statistics, and suggestions for improving your website’s link health.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Check My Links (Chrome Extension) are some of the best Webmaster tools.
How Broken Links Cause Different Issues?
Broken links can cause various issues in your website and might even lead to loose traffic spontaneously. Below, we pointed out some problems you might face with broken links in a list pattern to make them more precise.
Issue 1: Negative User Experience
- Frustration and inconvenience when users encounter broken links.
- The inability to access desired information or resources can hamper user experience.
- Need for more confidence in the website’s reliability and professionalism.
- Disrupted browsing flow and navigation on your website.
- Potential loss of trust and credibility among visitors.
Issue 2: Damaged Reputation
- Perception of an unprofessional and neglected website.
- Decreased trust from users, impacting your brand image.
- Negative word-of-mouth and potential loss of future visitors.
- Difficulties in attracting and retaining loyal users.
- Missed opportunities for positive user feedback and recommendations.
Issue 3: Decreased Website Performance
- Reduced user engagement and increased bounce rates.
- Longer loading times as visitors encounter error pages.
- Lower conversion rates due to broken links preventing completion of desired actions.
- Decreased average time spent on your website.
- Potential loss of recurring visitors and repeat business.
Issue 4: Negative SEO Impact
- Search engine crawlers encountering broken links may lower your website’s ranking.
- Reduced visibility in search engine results, leading to decreased organic traffic.
- Missed opportunities for improved search engine optimization due to inaccessible content.
- Negative impact on key SEO metrics such as page authority and domain authority.
- Difficulty in ranking higher for targeted keywords due to broken link issues.
Issue 5: Missed Business Opportunities
- Lost sales or leads when broken links prevent conversions.
- Inability to monetize advertising or affiliate partnerships due to broken tracking links.
- Damaged relationships with external websites if your links consistently lead to errors.
- Limited potential for cross-promotion and collaboration opportunities.
- Decreased revenue from missed opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.
Issue 6: Maintenance Challenges
- Increased workload to identify and fix broken links.
- The time-consuming process to manually review and update broken links.
- Difficulty in tracking and managing broken links as the website grows.
- Increased risk of new broken links emerging over time.
- Resource-intensive efforts are required to maintain an error-free website.
3 Types of Main Broken Links in Webpages
3 types of broken links can cause the above issues.
Type #1: Internal Broken Links
Internal broken links refer to hyperlinks within your website that malfunction. These links may point to pages or resources within your domain.
Internal broken links commonly occur when a webpage is deleted, renamed, or its URL structure is changed without updating the internal links.
Type #2: External Broken Links
External broken links are hyperlinks that lead to external websites or resources. These links may become broken if the external website removes or relocates the linked content, changes its URL, or experiences technical issues.
External broken links can negatively impact the user experience and SEO efforts and harm your website’s credibility.
Type #3: Redirected Broken Links
Redirected broken links occur when a link is intended to redirect visitors to a specific page or resource but fails to do so.
This can happen if the redirect is improperly set up, the target page no longer exists, or there are issues with the redirect configuration. In such cases, visitors are often directed to an error page instead of the intended destination.
Concluding on How to Fix a Broken Link on a Website
That’s everything you need to know about broken links. Now you are armed with the strategies shared throughout this guide; you possess the power to conquer broken links with finesse. Embark on regular link audits, acting as the vigilant guardian of your website’s integrity, swiftly identifying and addressing any lurking broken links that may hinder user navigation.
Fell the artistry of crafting custom 404 error pages, transforming moments of disappointment into delightful surprises, offering users a whimsical path back to the heart of your content. As you embark on this heroic journey to mend your website’s broken links, remember that your efforts will be rewarded with enhanced user satisfaction, an unshakable online reputation, and a website that thrives in its truest form.
Have a wonderful day, holy knight!